Bo Ryan's club opened the content by jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead behind five from co-Big Ten player of the week, Mike Wilkinson. The Wolverines responded with 14-4 run, keyed by three pointers from Daniel Horton and Dion Harris, to take a 16-13 lead halfway through the opening stanza. They would push that margin to as many as four points (21-17), but the experienced Badgers just would not go away.
A quick 6-0 spurt gave the Badgers the lead right back, but it was short-lived, as two Harris free throws knotted things up at 23 with 5:36 to go in the half. Moments later Daniel Horton nailed a big three pointer to retake the lead 28-26, but that was the last one they would see. Wilkinson ignited an 11-4 run five of his 18 first half points to give the Badgers a 37-32 lead heading into the locker room.
The Wolverines shot 42.3% from the field and 50% from behind the arc in the first half, but those numbers would take a turn for the worse after the intermission.
The first four and a half minutes of the second stanza saw the Wolverines go 1/8 from the field with their only points coming on a Ronald Coleman jumper. Wisconsin, on the other hand, did not miss a beat. They scored eleven over the same span to seize a commanding 48-34 lead.
Brent Petway finally broke the scoring drought with a huge baseline dunk. Air Georgia continued to try to keep his team in it when he trimmed lead to 10 with a big and-1 on a jumper from the elbow.
The Wolverines had an opportunity to cut it to single digits with just over twelve minutes left in the game, but Dion Harris was unable to capitalize at the free throw line. After the visitors increased the lead again the Maize and Blue cut it back to ten twice more…the last time coming on a Daniel Horton jumper with seven minutes left. Unfortunately for the Michigan fans that braved the blustery winter storm, the home team was never able to get any closer. Thirteen free throws down the stretch, including five from Wilkinson, helped the Badgers cruise to the 72-61 victory.
On the game the Wolverines shot only 36.7% from the field and were outrebounded 47-32. Daniel Horton, who had to be carried from the floor with another knee injury with 1:55 remaining, led the Wolverines with 16 points and 5 assists. His status at the time of this report was uncertain. Mike Wilkinson led the Badgers with 28 points and 15 rebounds.
The Wolverines will try to regroup Thursday evening in East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans.
The Wolverines had a few big time visitors from the Class of 2006 in the crowd Saturday. Grand Blanc's K'eln Morris (who has already committed), Flint Powers' Tom Herzog, and Saginaw Buena Vista's Tory Jackson were all on hand. Detroit Pershing's Deshawn Sims was scheduled to attend but was kept away by the weather.